1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A – Today’s Aussie muscle Tempter

By: James Robinson, Unique Cars magazine

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1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A
1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A

Own a legend

The 1988 HSV SS Group A is steeped in Aussie automotive history and is unquestionably a true-blue, four door hero.

It was the first car ever developed and built by Holden Special Vehicles, a joint venture between Holden and Tom Walkinshaw, established a year earlier following the very public split with Peter Brock’s HDT operation, over the ‘Energy Polarizer" and HDT Director fiasco.

In addition, this first HSV was, at the time of its release, quite polarising thanks to looks which have aged well but were very divisive at the time. It was also the first Commodore to feature a fuel-injected version of Holden’s 5.0L V8.

As a result of the new donk, performance figures were impressive; 180kW @ 5200 rpm and 380Nm at 4000 rpm. Other performance features included; a five-speed Borg-Warner T56 manual gearbox, brakes from the VL turbo and 16 inch alloys wrapped in 225/55-16 rubber.

Although the Group A enjoyed a successful racing career, it got off to a shaky start in 1988 with Walkinshaw’s UK built car lasting five laps before retiring with suspension failure and Larry Perkins falling victim to engine maladies late in the race. However, the Group A bounced back in 1990 and was crowned king of the mountain thanks to an excellent drive by Win Percy and Allan Grice, which put the VL on the top step of the Tooheys (Bathurst) 1000 podium.

This particular Group A has been tastefully enhanced to improve the overall character of the car. The enhancements include: a 355ci stroker V8, Scat crank, heads and block machined and flow tested, ACL pistons and bearings, a custom-grind solid cam and lifters, upgraded injectors, heavy-duty race clutch, DBA gold slotted brake discs, Genie headers, a full stainless two-inch exhaust with dump pipe and a eight-itre racing sump.

According to the seller, these modifications have led to some very large power outputs, roughly 300kW to the rear wheels to be precise.

Only 750 HSV Commodre SS Group As were made between March and November of 1988, and they are truly special automobiles. This particular example is build number 446 and the seller is asking $118,888.

If you’re interested in this Aussie muscle icon you can view the full listing here, and you can read our review of a 1988 HSV Commodore SS Group A here

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